How to Set Up and Use Hot Corners on macOS (and Why You Should)

Desktop operating systems always have some really cool features that come to the fore. At the same time, you’ll find some handy hidden additions that aren’t often pointed out.

One of these features is called Hot Corners, which is not a new feature. In fact, Hot Corners have been around for a while and are used on other operating systems.

What are Hot Corners?

Simply put, a Hot Corner is a configured action that occurs when you move your cursor to one of the four corners of the desktop. Each Hot Corner can be configured with a different action.

With macOS, you can choose from the following actions for each Hot Corner:

  • Mission Control (a bird’s eye view of your open windows)
  • Windows app (the app switcher)
  • Desktop (show your desktop)
  • Notification Center (open Notification Center)
  • Launchpad (where you can open any of your installed apps)
  • Quick note (write a quick note)
  • Start screen saver
  • Disable screen saver
  • Put the display to sleep
  • Lock screen

While this list may not be among your top 5 most used features in macOS, Hot Corners can make your office workflow dramatically more efficient. Instead of having to locate these actions (or memorize trackpad gestures for each), just drag your cursor to the corner associated with the action, and you’re good to go!

Let’s set up these Hot Corners so you can start enjoying a better workflow on your macOS desktop.

Configure your Hot Corners

The location of the Hot Corners configuration is not really intuitive. To set up your Hot Corners, follow these steps.

1. Access Mission Control Setup

To access the Hot Corner configuration, click on the apple menu (in the upper left corner of your desktop) and then select System Preferences. In the resulting window (Figure 1), Click on mission control.

The macOS Monterey System Preferences window.

The macOS System Preferences window.

Image: Jack Wallen

2. Open hot corners configuration

In the next window (Figure 2), Click on hot corners in the lower left corner.

Mission Control setup as found in macOS Monterey.

The Hot Corners configuration can be found in the Mission Control window.

Image: Jack Wallen

3. Set up your hot spots

You can now select one of the available actions from the drop-down list for each corner (picture 3). A word of advice… I tend to leave the top left corner undefined, as it can interfere with opening the Apple menu.

The Hot Corners configuration window as it is in macOS Monterey.

The Hot Corners configuration window.

Image: Jack Wallen

Once you have configured all of your Hot Corners (Figure 4), click OK to save your settings.

hotcorners4.jpg

I’ve set all my Hot Corners as I want and it’s time to save the changes.

Three of the four Hot Corners configured in macOS Monterey.

All you have to do is move your cursor over the Hot Corner of your choice to activate the action you have configured.

Hot Corners are a great way to make your macOS desktop workflow a little more efficient. Once you understand Hot Corners, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without them.


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Steven L. Nielsen